Sheriff’s investigators have obtained a search warrant to access the “black box” in the Genesis GV80 SUV golfer Tiger Woods was driving when he crashed in Rancho Palos Verdes, with Sheriff Alex Villanueva saying Wednesday it will hopefully help determine what caused the accident.
“They’re going to go through it and see if they can find out what was the performance of the vehicle, what was happening at the time of impact,” Villanueva said. “And with that they’ll have more information they can attribute the cause of the accident. And that’s all it is.”
Villanueva has previously proclaimed that the Feb. 23 crash was nothing more than an accident, and that Woods won’t be facing any criminal charges. He said at most there could be an infraction for speeding or distracted driving.
While obtaining a warrant to access the “black box,” investigators did not seek a warrant for any blood work conducted on Woods after the crash, with the sheriff again insisting there is no evidence the famed golfer was impaired.
“In order to seek a search warrant, you have to have evidence of impairment,” Villanueva said. “Absent the evidence of impairment, you know, you’re not going to get a search warrant, period. it’s not going to get signed by the judge.
“Investigators will determine what’s needed to determine the cause of the traffic collision,” he said. “. … But the first step in obtaining a search warrant is you have to have evidence of impairment to continue going down that vein.”
Villanueva said earlier the 45-year-old golfer’s SUV struck the center median — actually hitting a “Welcome To Rolling Hills Estates” sign — while heading north on Hawthorne Boulevard and careened across the southbound lanes, sheering off a tree and rolling over, coming to rest on its side along an embankment about 30 yards off the western edge of the road.
Rescue crews used a pry bar and axe to extricate Woods from the vehicle.
The 15-time major golf champion was heading to Rolling Hills Country Club for a video shoot with Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees when the crash occurred.
Woods sustained injuries to his right leg and ankle and underwent surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance before being transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Feb. 25.
Sheriff’s Deputy John Schloegl told USA Wednesday that investigators obtained the warrant for the “black box” because they are “trying to determine if a crime was committed.”
“If somebody is involved in a traffic collision, we’ve got to reconstruct the traffic collision, if there was any reckless driving, if somebody was on their cell phone or something like that,” he said. “We determine if there was a crime. If there was no crime, we close out the case, and it was a regular traffic collision.”
Schloegl added that Woods has been cooperating with the investigation.